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Trump Wins New Hampshire, Haley Vows to Stay in Race; Russian Media: Military Plane with 74 Onboard Crashes; Biden Advisers Moving to Campaign after Trump NH Victory. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 24, 2024 - 06:00   ET


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Good Wednesday morning, everyone. I'm Phil Mattingly with Poppy Harlow in New York.


Kasie Hunt is back with us, live in New Hampshire, where Donald Trump has seized another victory and delivered a crushing blow to Nikki Haley on his seemingly inevitable march to the GOP nomination. And in a seething speech following his win, Trump lashed out at Haley.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and, like, claimed a victory? She did very poorly, actually. She had to win.

I find in life, you can't let people get away with bullshit. OK? You can't. You just can't do that. And when I watched her in the fancy dress that probably wasn't so fancy, come up, I said, what's she doing?


MATTINGLY: But here's the thing. Back on Earth, Haley acknowledged the reality of her loss and congratulated Donald Trump. She did, however, vow to stay in the race through the primary in her home state of South Carolina.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory tonight. He earned it.

New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: South Carolina still about a month away. She will be highlighting what the exit polls underscored last night. Trump clearly has a strong grip on the Republican Party, but glaring weakness among independents and those suburban voters.

We've got team coverage this morning. Let's start off with Omar Jimenez. He joins us again this morning in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Haley's next goal is going to be to try to wrestle her home state away from Trump in a matter of weeks.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you know, she's got some time on her hands, which as we've talked about before, the time could play to her benefit in building some momentum. But it also could be time in which a path forward or potential lack of path forward is made clear.

I mean, look, Donald Trump wasted no time in saying that this primary process is essentially over, after winning his second state in a row. That said, Nikki Haley wanted a two-person race; she got it. And despite the results here in New Hampshire, she says she isn't going anywhere.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Former President Trump victorious in New Hampshire.




JIMENEZ (voice-over): Paving the way for him to clinch the Republican nomination for the third time.

TRUMP: When you win Iowa and you win New Hampshire, they've never had a loss, there's never been -- so we're not going to be the first.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): His sole rival, Nikki Haley, remains optimistic, and vows to stay in the race.

HALEY: New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Haley is still trying to convince Republicans that a shift away from Trump is the best path to victory in November.

HALEY: A Trump nomination is a Biden win and a Kamala Harris presidency.

The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Trump responded during his victory speech, lashing out at Haley, criticizing her for staying in the race.

TRUMP: I don't get too angry; I get even.

We have to do what's good for our party. And she was up, and I said, wow, she's doing, uh, like a speech like she won. She didn't win. She lost. JIMENEZ (voice-over): Haley is now looking ahead to her home state of

South Carolina, but her path for the nomination is challenging after losses in the first two voting states.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election is over! It is time for the Republican Party to coalesce around our nominee!

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The former president also touted his endorsement from South Carolina's senator, Tim Scott.

TRUMP: You must really hate her. No, it's -- it's a shame. It's a shame. Uh-oh.

SCOTT: I just love you!

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Trump now wants to focus on his rematch with President Biden.

TRUMP: If we don't win, I think our country is finished. I do.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Biden won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire overwhelmingly, as a write-in candidate, and says it's clear Trump will be the Republican nominee.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe 2024 is going to be the most important election we've had since 1864. I mean it. And the reasons are clear: Democracy is on the ballot.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Biden is campaigning on abortion rights and sharpening his message against Trump.

BIDEN: I don't think this court and the MAGA Republicans have any clue about the power of women in America. I don't think they have any clue! But they're about to find out.



JIMENEZ (on camera): Now, through all of this, Nikki Haley has maintained she is the strongest candidate to take on Trump, but -- or to take on Biden, rather. But former President Trump isn't buying it, after winning now two states in a row.

Nikki Haley's team has already announced plans to spend millions of dollars on ads in the next primary state, South Carolina. Obviously, a critical one. Her home state and a place where the former president has already lined up key figures against her.

MATTINGLY: Major, major endorsements, including the governor. Omar Jimenez, thank you.

HARLOW: Let's go to Kasie Hunt. She joins us in New Hampshire again this morning. Kasie, you've got some reporting on how Haley's team felt about

Trump's speech. But also, you made a great point last hour. She has to put a "W" on the board, and when is she going to do that?

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Right. And honestly, at this point, they can't answer that question. They can point to some states where perhaps they might do better than others.

But we cannot lose sight of where this race stands, big picture. It was historic that a non-incumbent president would win Iowa, would win New Hampshire. And it is extraordinarily difficult to envision a scenario where Nikki Haley really goes forward and takes him on in the traditional way. Right now, the people that are holding out hope for her are talking about scenarios that relate to his legal problems or, you know, other things that we can't see coming.

Now, the big question, I think, for Donald Trump, and when you talk to, you know, people kind of around him, who support him, they really like the guy that they saw after the Iowa caucuses: the one who thanked Ron DeSantis, who thanked Nikki Haley, who came across as a gracious person who was trying to unite the party. I mean, it felt very different to us, right? I mean, gone was "Ron DeSanctimonious." All of a sudden, Donald Trump was using Ron DeSantis' real name.

That was not the Donald Trump that we saw last night. Instead, we saw someone who was clearly angry, who was focused on his politics of grievance. I mean, I think he said at one point, you know, "I don't get angry; I get even."

You heard him, you know, in Omar's piece, that moment with Tim Scott, where he says to Tim Scott, "Well, you must hate Nikki Haley." I mean, anyone who's covered Tim Scott, I think, knows that's not the kind of guy that Tim Scott is. And he stepped up to that microphone and said, "No, no, I just love you."

But we're kind of back in that frame, right, of Republicans who had previously stood on their own, standing kind of behind the frame, behind Donald Trump's shoulder, right?

I mean, we saw Chris Christie in moments like that in 2016. It's -- it's all very familiar.

And I think it really underscores where -- what we have learned about the electorate, which is that Republicans do not want to move on from Donald Trump. I mean, certainly, people have been pushed out of the party who are now, you know, independents. We saw that here in New Hampshire, even saw some of it in Iowa.

But the people that remain here as Republicans, we sound like broken records, Poppy, but it's Trump's party now.

HARLOW: Yes, it is. Kasie, thank you. Get back to you soon -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Well, she's not quitting yet. That's very clear. Nikki Haley vowing to stay in the race after that second-place finish last night in New Hampshire. So what can we learn about Haley's performance in the New Hampshire

primary? And where does her campaign go from here?

I want to start with Kasie's point, because I think this is a really critical one. Donald Trump winning this race last night with just about all the vote counted, by 11 points. A little bit more than 11 points. That is a sizable victory. It is a victory that underscores his power within the party.

And to demonstrate that, I think one thing -- key thing to key on here is the party identification. Look, the unique factor in the New Hampshire primary was the independent voters. There are a significant number, more than 340,000. It was a huge turnout night.

The Haley campaign needed those independents to turn out. They did turn out, and they broke for her: 60 percent went for Haley to 38 percent for Trump.

But it's the Republican number that's so critical. Margins needed to be kept down with Republicans. Trump won Republicans 74 percent to 25 percent. It is the story of the race that the party itself, the Republican Party -- you hear it from the leadership; you heard it from the RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, last night, saying people need to coalesce behind Trump. They believe Trump is the nominee. They believe Haley has no path forward.

So what is the Haley path forward, if one actually exists? Obviously, South Carolina is next up. Look at the results and you'll see why Haley's theory of the case going into New Hampshire makes so much sense.

Let's flip back to 2016. Donald Trump won a much more fractured primary: 35 percent was his top line, winning the race by nearly -- more than 19 points.

You look at all the red here, were all the townships and cities that Donald Trump won.

Now, obviously, he won more votes at a higher percentage. It was a one-on-one race here.

But take a look when you pull out the counties that Trump won back in '16. Everything highlighted is a county that Trump won in 2016, and you see all of the yellow in here. Those are counties -- those are townships and cities that Haley won.

And there's one in particular I want to pull out, because I think this underscores the theory of the case from Haley's team. This is Bedford, just South of Manchester. This is the ideal demographic for the Haley campaign. This is highly educated. This is wealthy; more suburban type of area.


This is an area that back in 2016, Donald Trump won, fairly handily, over John Kasich, who made the same type of theory of the case his primary goal in the race. Donald Trump won this by 12 points.

Last night, Haley won it by nearly 10 points. However, she needed to win it by more. I think that was the story throughout the course of the evening, is that even where Haley was picking up independents, was picking up undeclared, was rolling up Democratic kind of heavy towns and cities, it wasn't enough, because of Trump's dominance in the Republican Party.

And here's where that gets problematic going forward. We've been talking about how South Carolina is up next. That is the place where Nikki Haley was obviously elected governor. It is a place where brutal campaigns take place.

If you want to have somebody that shared Haley's theory of the case, John McCain back in 2000 stunning everyone, winning independents 3-1 to upset George W. Bush, went to South Carolina, was subject to multiple smear campaigns. Bush won South Carolina, kept that momentum to win the nomination.

Right now as it currently stands, at least in our most recent polling, Trump with a significant lead in South Carolina, more than 30 points; has the endorsements of all of the senior party officials in that state.

It's Haley's home state. She's got a month to prepare, to spend, to try and lay the groundwork. Whether she can do it, you can tell there's significant skepticism within the party. She's saying she can -- Poppy.

HARLOW: The makeup of the electorate was so much more favorable for her in New Hampshire than it's going to be. South Carolina is going to be a lot more like Iowa for her.


HARLOW: Yes. Thank you, Phil.

This breaking news overnight: a Russian military plane carrying 74 people has crashed. Who Russia says was onboard. Also, what we're learning about the moment that plane went down.

MATTINGLY: Also, a Delta flight just seconds from takeoff in Georgia when the nose wheel falls off. That's ahead.



HARLOW: We do have breaking news out of Russia this morning. Take a look at this. What you're looking at is a plane going down. Seconds later, a large explosion.

Russian officials say the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian servicemen ahead of a prisoner exchange. That is at odds with what Ukrainian sources are saying, that the plane was not carrying POWs but instead carrying missiles. Our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen covering it all

this morning. Very early hours, this just happened. It is tragic. What do we know?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Poppy, there are a lot of things that are still very much in question about all of this.

However, one of the things, of course, that we can ascertain just from seeing that video is that, of course, this was a massive crash that took place.

Now, the latest that we have is that this took place about 5 to 6 kilometers outside of a small village Northeast of the city of Belgorod. Belgorod, of course, a big military hub for the Russians.

But as you were already mentioning, right now, you have these claims and counter claims coming in from the Russians and the Ukrainians. The Russians, for their part are saying that there were Ukrainian POWs on that plane meant for a prisoner exchange.

Also, the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense in Russia, he came out, and he unequivocally said that the plane was shot down by the Ukrainians. He said that it was three surface-air missiles that took down that plane.

Those claims coming from the Russians.

At the same time, you have the Ukrainians -- and this is information coming in from Ukraine's state news agency -- citing sources within the Defense Ministry of Ukraine saying that there were S-300 missiles onboard that plane. Those are surface-to-air missiles.

However, they are often used by the Russians to shell ground targets, often originating from that city of Belgorod and hitting Kharkiv in Ukraine.

So you have those claims and counterclaims right now as to what exactly was onboard that plane.

However, one of the things that the governor of that region, of Belgorod said, he came out just a couple of minutes ago and he said that he is now sure that everyone who was on that aircraft died in that incident.

Again, the early stages still of all of this. We're still trying to get the information that is incoming. Right now, you have those claims and counterclaims, but definitely, a huge incident that took place there. And obviously, a big loss of an aircraft for the Russians, Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. And very different stories from the Ukrainians and the Russians. Thank you, Fred. We'll get back to you soon.

Our coverage of the race for the White House continues. President Biden not the only one who is looking ahead to the general election. Nikki Haley focusing on November, as well, offering this message from her campaign.


HALEY: Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump. The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election.





BIDEN: I'm betting, come November, we will vote in record numbers. And when we do that, we'll teach Donald Trump a valuable lesson.


MATTINGLY: That was President Biden, shifting into general election mode after former President Trump's decisive victory in New Hampshire last night.

Biden's campaign says Trump has, quote, "all but locked up" the GOP nomination, so now some of Biden's top West Wing advisers will be moving to his campaign team.

HARLOW: It comes as leading Democrats fear that Biden's campaign is not adequately prepared for the fight ahead. Arlette Saenz is live at the White House with more.

Good morning to you. But, there are some changes being made, with key people heading to the campaign.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are, Poppy. And in President Joe Biden's mind, this is now a general election fight. There is a matchup between him and former President Donald Trump.

And the president really tried to use the result of the New Hampshire primary to drive that argument home to voters. He said in a statement last night, quote, "It is now clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. And my message to the country is the stakes could not be higher. Our democracy; our personal freedoms -- from the right to choose to the right to vote; our economy, which has seen the strongest recovery in the world since COVID, all are at stake."

The campaign even leaning into these Biden versus Trump matchups, releasing some merchandise last night, a T-shirt saying, quote, "Together we will defeat Trump again."

This is a point in the campaign that Biden advisers have been quite eager to get to. They believe that, once this would boil down to a Trump versus Biden fight, that the choice would become much clearer for voters. But one of the challenges for Biden's team going forward is actually

executing their plan to secure a second term in the White House. And that is why you are seeing President Biden make these changes to his campaign team.

He is deploying two of his top advisers here at the White House over to the campaign. That includes Jen O'Malley Dillon, who ran his 2020 camp operations. She will be focusing on charting out the path to 270 electoral votes.

And then there's Mike Donilon, who really has a complete mind-meld with Joe Biden when it comes to strategy and messaging. He will move over to the campaign, really focusing on that messaging strategy and also their paid media strategy going forward.

This all comes as there have been some hand wringing among Democratic strategists over whether the campaign was structured in the right way to have a fully-functioning and successful campaign heading into November. So, perhaps some of these changes could quiet some of those concerns.

But the White House, the president's campaign and his advisers really trying to treat this as an all hands on deck moment as they believe they are much closer to the general election now.


MATTINGLY: Yes. Certainly heading in that direction. Two of his absolute closest advisers, as you laid out, Arlette.

Arlette, I was interested. Watching the event yesterday, the president was interrupted a lot, and protesters show up. That's not a rarity, particularly at a bigger event like that.

But it was almost entirely, if not completely, tied to the war in Gaza right now. That has been an issue kind of bubbling within the Democratic Party. Are aides concerned about that, particularly given how many interruptions in a public forum we saw yesterday?

SAENZ: Yes, you've really seen it at almost every one of President Biden's events, whether it's been campaign or White House-related, there have been been these protests relating to Gaza. As you have seen some real frustration within the Democratic Party about the fact that President Biden has not called for a cease-fire.

Perhaps yesterday was the most stark example of that, as there were about a dozen times that the president was interrupted. This is something that he will have to face as he is trying to court Democratic voters, especially Arab Americans, who are incredibly frustrated with the approach that he's taken towards Israel.

Critical constituency in Michigan in particular, but across the progressive basis. Arlette Saenz, thank you.

HARLOW: While Trump would like to focus just on Biden, our exit polling from New Hampshire shows some potential warning signs for the former president in a general, if he does snag the nomination.

Only 25 percent of those who identify themselves as moderate went for Trump. It was a similar story for those who identified as independent. Haley beating Trump there by over 20 points.

Trump's legal issues also standing out, more compared to their importance among those voters in the Iowa caucuses. Forty-two percent in New Hampshire said Trump would not be fit for the presidency if convicted of a crime. That was just 31 percent among those who caucused in Iowa.

Joining us now, CNN senior political analyst, John anchor -- John -- and anchor John Avlon, Republican strategist and pollster, Lee Carter.

John, to you.

You were just nodding your head through all those numbers. Yes, they are weaknesses for Trump. Are they an Achilles heel for him?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST/ANCHOR: Absolutely. Elections are won by the candidate who appeals to independent voters and moderate voters. It's not simply a play to the base exercise. That's general election.

And I think Trump's weaknesses were revealed or heightened last night in New Hampshire, which is a state that's predisposed to do that, because the open primaries -- the fact there are more independents than Democrats or Republicans.

And on the flip side, I think Joe Biden's strength with the write-in vote is an enormous sign of strength that hadn't been anticipated.

But Donald Trump's fundamental weakness as a general election candidate, it illustrates all the fundamental problems of our politics, which is polarization, hyper-partisan. Strongly supported by the base. He is kryptonite to the center of the electorate, and that's who you need to win, ultimately.

MATTINGLY: Lee, I thought, one of the striking comments that Nikki Haley made last night -- I'm not surprised she's staying in. And I'm not surprised that she's going to fight on this one.


MATTINGLY: Particularly heading to South Carolina, but more importantly, because of what lies ahead on Super Tuesday.

But the idea of the chaos and trying to get both parties rid of their current front-running nominees, or likely nominees at this point. Take a listen.


HALEY: With Donald Trump, you have one bout of chaos after another. This court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment. You can't fix Joe Biden's chaos with Republican chaos. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: What I think is so striking about that message is Republicans are locked in, right?


MATTINGLY: To John's point about who's not right now, on both sides to some degree, I think most people would agree with that?

CARTER: I think you're right.

MATTINGLY: But is that enough to change the dynamic?

CARTER: I'm not sure. Because the independent voter is so fractured. I mean, you saw voter after voter who was coming in, that were interviewed yesterday, or people that we talked to in focus groups. They talk about, yes, I'm going to go vote for Nikki Haley, because I'm voting against Donald Trump, but I still might vote for Biden.

Her support is really soft. And I think that whole group of folks have really disenfranchised. Only 4 percent of Americans right now think that the political system is working for them. I think that they're really frustrated.

Haley gets a lot of comments. When I was -- I ran some surveys last night, and a lot of the comments I got is that she's a chameleon. That she seems like -- They're not sure where she stands. And so I just -- I think that she's got a really tough road ahead, whereas -- whereas Donald Trump has really solid support.

Three-quarters of his supporters had decided more than a month ago they were going to support to him. Eight in ten of them are solidly behind him.

Eight in ten of them are angry. I thought that was such an interesting statistic. They're angry with the way things are in the country. And so when you heard Donald Trump speaking last night, and he was so angry, I think that resonates with a huge swath of folks.

So it's a -- you've got to -- independent voters -- sort of betwixt and in between, and doesn't really have a home right now, It doesn't seem like they're solidly behind anyone. It's going to be interesting to see how that turns out.

AVLON: Look, I'm not surprised that Trump supporters are angry. That's the brand he's been selling. You know, it's January 6th.

I'm also not surprised they're very intensely committed. They have bought into the election lie that's become a litmus test for so many people in the Republican Party, but it doesn't reflect reality.

Independent voters are not sort of this mushy middle. They're respectable voters. But independents and moderates are principled. They're not partisans first. They try to put country over party.